The power of the president, as commander in chief of the armed forces, has evolved over more than two centuries, constrained by congressional action, the emergence of a standing military establishment after World War II and a more complex world.
Some of the most important constraints on presidential power have been shaped in the form of norms of civil-military relations observed from George Washington to Barack Obama. These norms — respect for the military’s culture, its role in society and its separation from partisan politics — have been bolstered in recent decades by a professional military ethic that requires troops to avoid politics and focus on their missions.
Enter Donald Trump, our 45th president. Since taking office, he has shattered countless norms of civil-military relations — for example, by appointing many retired or active generals to high office, by politicking before military audiences and by summarily dismissing military advice on Afghanistan.
Read the full article in The New York Times.
More from CNAS
VideoAfghanistan Veteran Says War Might be Over for U.S. but Not for Afghans
Jason Dempsey, an adjunct senior fellow of the Military, Veterans, and Society program at the Center for a New American Security, and a military veteran deployed twice to Afgh...
By Dr. Jason Dempsey
CommentarySharper: Afghanistan 20 Years Later
The chaotic end to the war in Afghanistan bookends two decades in which America changed irrevocably. Thousands of soldiers experienced dual wars, and multiple generations of v...
By Anna Pederson & Sydney Simon
VideoUncertain future for Afghanistan under Taliban rule
NBC's Courtney Kube, retired Army Colonel Christopher Kolenda, and former adviser to U.S. Special Ops in Afghanistan Seth Jones join Andrea Mitchell to discuss what comes next...
By Christopher D. Kolenda
VideoUnited States must reduce strain on National Guard
Research assistant Nathalie Grogan joins Government Matters to discuss the currently unsustainable path of the U.S. National Guard and the need for congress and the DoD to rea...
By Nathalie Grogan